Please Help: How to make a big improvement in the alignment of political parties’ incentives with the public interest?

post by interstice · 2017-01-18T00:51:56.355Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 6 comments

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comment by interstice · 2017-01-18T00:53:44.250Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dominic Cummings asks for help in aligning incentives of political parties. Thought this might be of interest, as aligning incentives is a common topic of discussion here, and Dominic is someone with political power(he ran the Leave campaign for Brexit), so giving him suggestions might be a good opportunity to see some of the ideas here actually implemented.

comment by James Crook (JamesCrook) · 2019-01-03T14:19:28.627Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'll use 'ethical' here as a shorthand for 'serve the public interest' even if that is not exactly what ethical normally means. One approach is to work on two related sub problems:

1. How to make more companies more ethical

2. How to make the more ethical companies have more influence on politicians.

It's not obvious how to make headway with either sub problem. Journalism about ethical companies might help. It would require something of a shift in journalism from the attention-grabbing kind to the exploring-explaining kind. Publicity about ethical companies could encourage more companies to be more ethical. That journalism could change in this way is not entirely folorn hope.

For ethical companies to have more influence politically, they need to be financially successful and generating significant numbers of jobs. Ethical and financially successful seem almost contradictory. Aligning those is a sub goal that could be explored more in its own right. Good places to start would be to look at education and at health care, and look to see what forces pull them away from either being ethical or being financially successful. Some work done in Africa by educational and health charities on very low budgets show how big leaps in service quality can be made economically. Perhaps some innovations there can be translated back to first world economies, and do good more profitably than the incumbents.

The political disconnect (or misconnect) is a huge problem. The situation has a tremendous amount of inertia to it, because making politics more ethical entails many changes throughout society. It's not as it seems. One can't simply make politics more ethical and then see society change for the better. It's almost the other way round.

comment by CronoDAS · 2017-01-20T17:37:14.104Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Get David Brin's disputation arenas up and running, in such a way that politicians can't simply ignore it.

comment by NoSleepTilBrooklyn · 2017-01-21T07:51:20.186Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm very interested in the idea of the National Popular Vote movement as a method of making political parties in the US accountable to the entire population rather than a handful of constituencies who's importance is grossly over amplified by the geographic accident of mathematically crucial swing districts. Issues important to members of both parties in non-swing areas are functionally irrelevant in presidential politics, which is the fulcrum of national party politics. Surely, changing this equation would redefine not only the strategic calculus of the parties as we know them, but also the engagement of all voters in the vast majority of the country--which is currently ignored by both parties. There seems to be a lot of fear and apprehension about changing the way electoral college votes are allotted, but none of the arguments for maintaining the status quo take into account the fact that if every citizen's vote was equal, regardless of party affiliation or geography, it would change not just political strategy but the issues on the table. I don't think there is a coherent, rigorous argument for national politics to be waged by proxy in a few random swing states and districts, but that is how the system works under the current method of allocating electors.

comment by bogus · 2017-01-19T00:23:28.932Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

What we need most urgently is better norms of behavior for political actors. In the short-to-medium term, something like Intentional Insights' recently-announced project to promote sensible thinking and "wise decision making" in the political arena would be rather helpful. (The linked "full description document" explains quite well why current "fact checking" approaches are not good enough in practice.)

Also interesting, from the linked post:

3) If one were setting up a new party from scratch what principles could be established in order to align the party’s interests with the public interest much more effectively ... [and] attract candidates very different to those who now dominate Parliament

My proposal - shape the internal workings of the party to be a learning organization (to use the management-science term) from day 1. Moreover, use modern online tools such as wikis, discussion forums, internal voting platforms ala Liquid Feedback and play-money prediction markets to let party members and adherents cooperate on campaign platforms, political and debate strategies, and everything that normally makes a party salient to the average, non-politically-involved person. (That is, the stuff that 'average' folks will be most willing to work on even in the absence of high-powered incentives, and also what's most critical in practice to the success of a niche party in the real world.)

comment by tukabel · 2017-01-18T16:08:29.589Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

better question: How to align political parties with the interests of CITIZENS?

As a start, we should get rid of the crime called " prefessional politician".